Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford, who in his first season with the Bulldogs fashioned one of the best turnarounds in college football history, said on Thursday that he is not going to turn around and leave his alma mater for another job.
The Bulldogs’ coach has been connected to coaching vacancies, most recently this week at Oregon, which is in search mode after coach Willie Taggart left for Florida State. But Tedford said his focus is on preparing Fresno State for a Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl matchup against Houston and a big recruiting weekend.
“I have no interest in going anywhere,” Tedford said. “We’re excited about the direction the program is heading and are committed to the program here and to our players.
“The focus is on recruiting and preparing for the bowl game and continuing to build the pride and tradition in the program.”
Fresno State got some of that back this season, sitting at 9-4 and with a West Division championship in the Mountain West Conference just one year after going 1-11.
At 9-4, Fresno State with a win in the Hawaii Bowl would have its ninth 10-win season in school history and be only the second team in history to go from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in one season.
The win improvement is the largest in college football this season and if the Bulldogs were to win their bowl game and finish 10-4 they would tie for the second-highest win improvement in NCAA history and become only the second team ever to go from a season with double-digit losses to double-digit wins following Miami (Ohio) in 2010.
Tedford, a finalist for two national coach of the year awards, also has set Fresno State up for success into the future by reworking a roster last summer and into the fall with key additions including quarterback Marcus McMaryion, a graduate transfer from Oregon State who has one more season of eligibility.
And the Bulldogs’ seventh win this season kicked in a rollover provision in Tedford’s contract with a raise to 105 percent of his base salary ($1.58 million) as well as any performance bonuses. Under terms of the contract it can be extended a maximum of three times over the term of the agreement, which when signed ran through Dec. 1, 2021.
I’m committed to be here. We have a great staff. We’ve been here one year and it’s just the beginning of our focus for the future.
With a track record of turning around downtrodden college football programs, Tedford, 56, is likely to continue to attract attention whenever the coaching carousel spins.
He also turned around the program at Cal, his first stop as a head coach. The Golden Bears went from a 1-10 season to 7-5 in 2002 under Tedford, then 8-6 and in his third season 10-2, reaching as high as No. 4 in the Top 25 and finishing at No. 9.
The Golden Bears had just one 10-win season since 1949, and had two in the first five seasons under Tedford, who holds Cal records for most career wins (82) and most bowl wins (5).
But he reiterated his commitment to Fresno State.
“I’m committed to be here,” Tedford said Thursday, the day before the Bulldogs start bowl practices.
“We have a great staff. We’ve been here one year and it’s just the beginning of our focus for the future.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada